BT announced Thursday that it's the first international telecommunications company to garner nationwide licenses in China.
BT received two "value added licenses" from the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The China nationwide Domestic IP-VPN license and China nationwide Internet Service Provider (ISP) license allow BT China Communications Limited to contract directly with its customers in the country and bill them in local currency.
While the licenses are a milestone for BT, it didn't have to contend with China's "great firewall" to get its traffic out of the country using the internet infrastructure.
"This is about providing physical connectivity rather than content services or management of data that travels over the network," BT said via an email to FierceTelcom this morning.
The value added licenses give BT more reach for its multinational customers that want to expand their business efforts inside of China.
“We are delighted with this major benefit for our customers," said BT's Bas Burger, CEO of Global Services, BT, in a prepared statement. "Thanks to cooperation between the governments of the PRC and the U.K., we are now able to offer a nationwide service in China that can be scaled up to match the ambitions and needs of our customers. Being able to service and bill locally significantly simplifies the process of delivering connectivity and other communication services. It is what our customers expect from us and we are very grateful for the opportunity to do this as of today.”
BT won the licenses against the backdrop of increased tensions over China-based Huawei being banned for use in some countries' 5G networks, including New Zealand and Australia, and security espionage concerns in the United States and the U.K.
Last month, Reuters reported that BT was removing Huawei Technologies’ equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and that it would not use the Chinese company in central parts of its 5G network.